The immortality of the prolific Puerto Rican composer Catalino “Tite” Curet Alonso (1926-2003) lies in more than two thousand musical compositions still alive and well in many musician’s repertoires. For salsa performers, he was the master writer of international renown; for his family he was “unconditional being who loved his country;” and for Puerto Ricans in general, he was known as the “Poet of the People,” reflecting in his lyrics his concerns with issues regarding race, class, and social realities.
Two recent events also contribute to preserve memories of this great composer of Latin music. A sculpture depicting Curet Alonso was unveiled at the Plaza de Armas (square) in Old San Juan, bearing the inscription “Mirando Pa’ Lejos” [Looking Afar]. It was designed by Puerto Rican artist Luz Badillo. There is also a photographic exhibition in his honor, featuring photos compiled by photojournalist José Rodríguez entitled “¡Viva Curet! El poeta del pueblo.” The exhibition is on view at the San Juan Bautista Gallery in the Municipality Building in Old San Juan; it will remain on view until mid-May. The opening included a show by the Sabor de Puerto Rico Orquestra and the Orquestra of Cheo Feliciano, who recorded around 30 of Curet Alonso’s compositions.
Other Latin American performers who recorded Curet’s themes were Tito Rodríguez, “La Lupe,” Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades, Willie Colón, Olga Guillot, and Celia Cruz, among others. Curet’s songs have also been included in the soundtracks of several films, such as Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather II” and Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”
Curet Alonso was born on February 26, 1926 and died on August 5, 2003 at the age of 77.
For related articles, see http://www.elnuevodia.com/regresaasanjuan-914025.html and http://noticias.terra.com/noticias/san_juan_dedica_una_escultura_al_compositor_puertorriqueno_tite_curet/act2743283
For a heartfelt tribute for Curet Alonso by photojournalist and close friend José Rodríguez (and the photo featured here), see http://www.80grados.net/2011/03/%c2%a1viva-curet-el-poeta-del-pueblo/
For more information (and second photo of Curet with Cheo Feliciano), see http://www.latinowebcafe.com/2009/04/11/tite-curet-alonso-part-2/